Gasoline gained as U.S. durable goods orders rose more than forecast, signaling growing demand, and as strikes at French refineries continued for a twelfth day, reducing shipments of the motor fuel to the U.S. East Coast.
Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years climbed 3.5 percent in November, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 2 percent advance. Workers at three French refineries of Total SA (TOT:US), the nation’s largest oil company, continued strike action amid pay disputes.
“The durable goods report is driving futures more than anything else today,” said Tom Finlon, director of Energy Analytics Group Ltd. “There’s also a lot of gasoline that’s been lost from the Total SA strikes. They’re taking fuel from Northwest Europe and removing some from the U.S.”
Gasoline futures for January delivery rose 2.48 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $2.8051 at 9:21 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volume was 37 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. The Nymex trading floor will close at 1:30 p.m. today and will be shut tomorrow for the Christmas holiday.
The fuel’s crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate oil, a measure of refining profitability, added 87 cents to $18.75 a barrel, a sixth consecutive gain, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gasolineâs premium to Brent oil in Europe swelled 67 cents to $6 a barrel and touched the highest intraday level since Sept. 3.
January-delivery ultra low sulfur diesel on the Nymex gained 1.34 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $3.0735 a gallon.
The crack spread to WTI added 38 cents to $29.71 a barrel, while the fuel’s premium over Brent widened 21 cents to $16.92 a barrel.
The average U.S. pump price for gasoline rose 0.8 cent to $3.258 a gallon yesterday, a fifth consecutive rise and the highest level since Dec. 9, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the nation’s largest motoring company.
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